By Tara Bennett
With an impressive body of work, Randell Henry has left his mark on the local community in Baton Rouge where he currently resides. In celebration of his life and accomplishments in his artistic career, the Baton Rouge Gallery, a BREC facility (BRG) is hosting a special afternoon party in Henry’s honor with some of Henry’s closest friends and family.
“It was something a close, long-time friend of Randell’s suggested,” said BRG Executive Director Jason Andreasen. “Darlene Moore essentially wanted to have a party just to celebrate Randell.”
The party planning didn’t stop just there. The BRG planned on hosting since Henry is currently one of the featured artists for July, but also to commemorate the 30th anniversary Henry joined the BRG as an artist member.
“The more we talked about it, it became bigger and bigger,” said Andreasen. “Pretty soon it turned into a celebration of a career that has a really big impact on Baton Rouge.”
The party will be held on Sunday, July 19, 3-5 p.m. with live music, and dance performances.
A professor at Southern University in their visual arts department, Henry received his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Southern University in 1979 and the MFA in painting from LSU in 1982. His works have been exhibited at Southern University Museum of Art, The West Baton Rouge Museum, Dallas Museum of African American Art, The Museum of Arts and Science in Daytona Beach, Florida, and The National Museum of Ghana. In 2010, he exhibited at the University of Liberia and the U.S. Embassy Residence of Ambassador Linda Greenfield-Thomas. Henry was recently featured in “60 Americans,” a contemporary art exhibition at Elga Wimmer PCC in New York honoring 60 influential American artists. As one of Baton Rouge’s most recognized and accomplished visual artists, Henry has impacted the arts of Baton Rouge.
“Just in terms of showing his work brings a lot credibility to Baton Rouge as a whole,” said Andreasen, who mentioned that the New York Times art critic came to “60 Americans” and left saying Henry’s piece was her favorite in the entire exhibition.
“So when you have local Baton Rouge-based artists showing outside of Baton Rouge and getting that kind of feedback, more and more people take notice of what’s going on in Baton Rouge,” said Andreasen. “It’s inspiring and makes artists see other artists doing well in this area and push themselves to see how far they can take things.”
Henry’s signature style is vibrant mixed media paintings using African fabric swatches, which involve the use of improvisational methods of playing with shape, color and pattern. Henry is primarily known for his use of rich colors, which ties his work altogether. A unique style all his own, his collage work makes you want to take a closer look and sometimes you can see things within the work.
“Once the piece is done he will see a face, or a musical instrument or whatever it might be, and will then title the piece accordingly,” said Andreasen. “So sometimes when you look at his work, then the title, you want to see where he saw that.”
For the gallery to see Henry grow as an artist since 1985 has been a privilege.
“To have him for 30 years, that is a substantial amount of time to be a member of any gallery,” said Andreasen. “We’re thrilled to have Randell as a member and to continue seeing the community embrace his work.”
Henry’s work will be on display at BRG through July 30. The party is free and open to the public. For more information on Henry and examples of his work visit batonrougegallery.org/randell-henry/.